About the Book (from Goodreads)
"This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster."
I couldn't help but be intrigued by the blurb for this book and the wild, eye-catching cover. Everything, Everything screamed mystery and meaning, and I was happy to see what sort of adventure might be in store.
I enjoyed getting to know Madeline - her wit (especially evident in the awesome illustrations of her written "assignments," book reviews, and more), her big heart, and her desire to taste life, knowing that just one taste could be her undoing. And for the most part, I enjoyed getting to know Olly, too. His skills and interests, as well as humor and kindness, draw Madeline out of the isolation and rigidity she's always known day to day.
This story is an intriguing blend of the unexpected and the well-traveled...bordering on a fairy tale and yet well-grounded in real feelings...delivering something new while conveying a familiar but important theme. It's a quirky but clever read with a lot of personality.
(Potential Spoiler: There was one particular scene that I wished hadn't been included. For those who would also be bothered by it, note that there is a brief instance of physical intimacy. Unfortunately, while it's easy to skip over, it's rather integral to a certain part of the book, and I think it's sad that being "free" physically - outside of marriage and in a potentially risky situation - seems to be set up almost as a reflection of the real freedom of discovering the truth and embracing life. I personally don't believe those two "freedoms" share a connection.)
Everything, Everything makes a lot of thought-provoking points and raises some interesting questions about what life really should be like and how it should be approached. There are some sad circumstances and not everything gets handled "perfectly," but I admire the quest for truth.
*With thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*